The Transformation Of Mobility

by | Sep 23, 2021 | Mobility

Credit : Mikko Mäkelä

Four Key Technology-Driven Trends

Mobility is undergoing one of the most transformational shifts our generation has seen. Not only is the mobility market being impacted by this shift, but so is how we live our lives.  The future of mobility is being fuelled by four key technology-driven trends. Electric vehicles, connectivity and autonomous vehicles, and Mobility-as-a-Service. 

The world has already seen the consumer demand for electric cars increasing over the past few years with annual sales increasing worldwide by 7%. Even an independent analysis estimates the market for low emission vehicles to be worth 1–2 trillion Euros per year by 2030. By 2024–2026 a small number of exceptionally large players will dominate, making the market difficult to penetrate. How can consumers and businesses alike grasp the benefit of this mobility revolution? 

The Electric Vehicle

Affordable electric vehicles are coming to the market more and more. While electric cars will no doubt be popular, one key thing needs to be acknowledged. It isn’t just cars that can be adapted to be more sustainable.

Think about the e-scooters and e-bikes that are becoming more popular with the youth and with the elderly. In Finland, we are seeing a trend of e-scooters with teens emerge and the elderly are leaning towards e-bikes. It is only a matter of time before we see public transport become a huge part of this transformation. 

By introducing electric vehicles to the youth with scooters and bikes, we are paving the way for normalizing electric vehicles for future generations.  It is no wonder that The Stated Policies Scenario suggests that by 2030, the global electric vehicle stock (excluding two/three-wheelers) will reach nearly 145 million vehicles and will account for 7% of the global vehicle fleet.

Of course, we can’t discuss electric vehicles without discussing charging stations. Some charging stations have advanced features like smart metering, cellular connectivity, and network connectivity. While others are more simple. 

However, the biggest concern at the moment is the question that is constantly asked. Is it realistic to expect reliability for long-distance driving? Many skeptics are convinced this is not possible. They believe that the only reality to electric vehicles is the fear of needing to charge, or worse running out of energy in the middle of nowhere.    

But is it a necessary worry? While the demand for electric cars is growing, so are the public locations to charge their batteries. The challenge facing companies will be if the public charging infrastructures will be able to meet the future demand.

Next-Generation Connectivity

With 5G now here and 6G on the way, urban and interurban mobility are seeing new possibilities and opportunities emerge. Connectivity is everywhere and we see it as the driving force behind mobility. Consumers have made it clear that this must be an area of focus for many companies and investors. 

Next-generation connectivity is allowing the expansion of digital technology into more and more industries. With all these new technological developments like 5G and full-fiber broadband and the costs of satellite technology decreasing we are seeing much quicker connectivity between a multitude of devices. 

With 5G offering higher access speeds, lower latency, and supporting a higher number of devices to be connected, it will easily be the most important factor in realizing the potential of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Innovations in automotive connectivity, smart mobility, and automotive IoT are aiming to offer better consumer experiences. With 5G in place, technology will make it possible for vehicles to communicate with transport infrastructure. This will lead to less congestion, reduced emissions, and a smoother driving experience. 

Smart transportation technology concept, smart city, Internet of things, vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure, vehicle to pedestrian, abstract image visual

It also helps improve safety on roads by allowing the flow of information between vehicles, pedestrians, and take into consideration the road environment. All of this will make it possible for connected vehicles to anticipate and avoid dangerous situations and potentially saving lives.

Beyond these developments, software developers and leading technology companies are striving to offer consumers a more unified, fully integrated, and personalized vehicle experience. It is only through car connectivity that the potential of autonomous, electrification and shared mobility trends can be completely realized.  

Autonomous Vehicles

Smart and connected traffic goes hand-in-hand with autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Whole network infrastructures will need to be built. From AI, mapping software that communicates with other tools to navigate busy routes, safety and security, cameras and sensor technologies in RADAR and LiDAR as well as laser-light radar will all be needed. 

But don’t think about AVs as just a consumer-driven market. A big impact will be seen in transit autonomy. The commercial marine and maritime sectors for example have been very slow to automate. Many maritime accidents are caused by manual operations or non-intelligent autopilot settings.  Imagine using an AI navigation system to direct the ship to the harbor while moving obstacles that will ensure safe deliveries of goods. 

Mobility As A Service

Mobility as a Service (or MaaS) is an emerging idea within the mobility sector. It is a holistic look at the entire transportation system. The aim is to enable users to plan, book and pay for transportation through joint digital channels. And, like many new solutions, there is no one way to establish a MaaS business model. Subscriptions could be paid by a single journey or subscribe to a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription. 

The goal behind MaaS is to offer travelers solutions based on their needs in an environmentally friendly way. Together with other vehicular technologies such as automated driving, connected cars, and electric vehicles, MaaS will be contributing to the future of mobility. What we could be seeing as consumers is a future of autonomous, connected, and electric shared vehicles. There won’t be this compulsory demand to own your own vehicle.

We’ve already seen here in Finland the demand for shared bikes and shared e-scooters. It won’t be long before we see our first shared, electric autonomous vehicle!